Malkoun owns a 95 per cent stake in the property, but has attempted to obscure his involvement in the project by appointing a Singaporean man as director of his company Trash Media Pty Ltd.
He has also joined forces with a Chinese developer who has established several companies linked to the potential subdivision.
The council’s director of planning, Liana Thompson confirmed the permit application was being considered, but said there was confusion over ownership.
“The application is still in a preliminary stage as council is waiting on additional information from the applicant. Part of what we are seeking is to clarify ownership of the land as there is some conflicting details on the information provided to date,” Ms Thompson said.
The subdivision proposal could be complicated by a government plan to compulsorily acquire part of Malkoun’s land to build sewerage infrastructure between Craigieburn and Wallan. Yarra Valley Water has placed a caveat on the property which could obstruct any future subdivision.
Until Malkoun relocated to Dubai in 2013, the former president of Victoria’s Comancheros gang had used the farm in Donnybrook to indulge his passion for Arabian thoroughbred horses.
He is understood to have agisted several horses on behalf of Dubai’s royal family. But sources have said the prominent underworld figure was always aware of the potential surge in value if the site was to be rezoned.
Sentenced to a decade in prison in 1988 over his role in trafficking $5.5 million worth of heroin between Melbourne and Perth, Malkoun has an extensive criminal network across Asia and Europe, including Russia, where he established a Comancheros chapter.
Greek police are examining those criminal associations following an attempt on Malkoun’s life in an affluent suburb of Athens on March 1. Malkoun tried to start his Mercedes-Benz sedan in a carpark outside a gym in the upmarket suburb of Glyfada when the blast occurred.
Two men dragged the 56-year-old from the wreckage and he was rushed to the Asklipieio General Hospital in the nearby suburb of Voula. He has since been relocated to a private hospital, where he is being protected by police and private bodyguards, amid concerns of further attempts on his life.
Last week, Malkoun sent a photograph to associates in Australia that revealed the extent of his injuries, but he remained defiant and unbowed.
Both legs and his right arm were in plaster, while his head is swathed in bandages, but he ‘flips the bird’ with his left hand.
Malkoun did not respond to a request for comment from The Age.
Senior Crime Reporter
Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.